County Cork has been awarded 8 Blue Flags for beaches, 2 Blue Flags for Marinas and 14 Green Coast Awards at the 2020 National Awards ceremony which took place on-line on Tuesday June 9. In all, there were 90 Blue Flags and 60 Green Coast Awards awarded across Ireland this year by An Taisce.
The Blue Flag, a benchmark for beach quality internationally, is run by An Taisce, with support from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. County Cork beaches; Barleycove, Tragumna, Inchydoney West, Owenahincha, Garrylucas, Garretstown, Redbarn, all retained their Blue Flags for 2020 and Youghal Claycastle won back it’s Blue Flag this year. This new award for Youghal comes in addition to exciting developments such as the extension of the Youghal Eco Boardwalk and the 2021 Ironman Competition, recently announced for 15th August 2021.
The Green Coast Award is given to sites which may be less developed and less populated than Blue Flag beaches but which have excellent water quality. With 14 Green Coast Award Flags, Cork has been awarded the highest number of any county for 2020. An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts Volunteer Groups. Winners of the Green Coast Award included Cadogans (Schull), Sheeps Head (Dooneen Pier), Silver Strand Sherkin Island, Galleycove, Garinish, Fountainstown, Inchydoney East, Inch Strand, Oysterhaven, Shanagarry/Ardnahinch, Ballyrisode, Red Strand, Ring Beach (Youghal) and Rocky Bay.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Ian Doyle, extended congratulations to the many coastal community groups involved saying,
“The exceptional performance of County Cork in the Green Coast Category reflects the efforts of our citizens and community groups and the great work carried out by An Taisce and Cork County Council. The success of the Blue Flag and Green Coast campaigns requires a commitment & partnership by both Cork County Council and local communities to care for and maintain the areas. I urge everyone to do your part to help retain our Blue Flags this season by behaving responsibly on our beaches, stay safe, follow the beach code of conduct, leave no trace, respect fragile dunes and please keep dogs on leash and clean up after them when visiting our beautiful coastline.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, commented,
“We are particularly pleased that Youghal Claycastle has regained its Green Coast Award this year, a testament to the works undertaken to improve water quality in the Youghal area. Cork County Council is investing in an ongoing programme of upgrading facilities at a number of beaches on a phased basis in our commitment to develop flagship beaches. The Council’s Project ACT is working to revitalise our towns and villages, to encourage everyone to savour the beauty of our county, take another look at the amenities we have to enjoy and ultimately support our businesses and communities. Cork County has some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, we are fortunate to have all the elements of a staycation right on our doorstep.”
Cork County Council acknowledges the work and involvement of many other organisations including An Taisce, Irish Water Safety, West Cork Development Partnership, SECAD and the Local Community Groups in their local areas and beaches.